What are the most beautiful things to do in Bavaria? Bavaria is one of the most diverse states in Germany and offers enough sights to spend at least 2 weeks here without boredom. If you’re planning a Germany road trip, Bavaria offers you many diverse options on your tour from turbulent big cities to tranquil villages to impressive mountains, breathtaking hikes and enchanting mountain lakes. What we think are the most beautiful things to do in Bavaria you will learn in the following sections.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Things to do in Bavaria
TOP 5 most beautiful lakes in Bavaria
Bavaria is famous for its beautiful mountain lakes. Green-blue-turquoise, the clear water glistens in the sun. All around, the gray mountains pile up, adorned with green trees. What sounds like a kitschy description from a novel applies to almost all lakes in Bavaria. We were always impressed what nature has created. Our TOP 5 of the most beautiful lakes in Bavaria can be found here:
Königssee is a mountain lake in the municipality of Schönau am Königsee and is located in the Berchtesgadener Land National Park. Situated at an altitude of 600 meters, the lake is the place of interest in Berchtesgadener Land and one of the most beautiful natural highlights in Germany. Such a highlight is of course well visited, but still worth it.
The Königssee offers you emerald green, clear water and lies embedded in the surrounding mountain landscape like a fjord. You can take boat trips, go hiking and take a refreshing dip in Königssee in the summer. We found the landscape just incredible.
You can walk a small but very fine hiking trail along the east side of the lake or (with many many others) get on one of the famous boats to get to the church of St. Bartholomä. Königssee is truly one of the most beautiful lakes we’ve seen on our travels so far.
Eibsee at the foot of Zugspitze is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Germany. Here, too, you are simply enchanted by the sight of the green-turquoise shimmering water. The Eibsee is also one of the most popular hotspots for Instagram photos. However, as with the other destinations on this list, we would advise you to simply look for beautiful motifs yourself instead of taking the same photo as everyone else.
The area around the Eibsee is so beautiful that there is no shortage of good motifs. It is best to walk the approx. 2 hour round trip around the Eibsee, which is considered one of the most beautiful walks in all of Bavaria.
Hintersee in Ramsau is one of the most idyllic places you can find in the Bavarian Alps. Located in the famous Berchtesgaden National Park, Hintersee is not the largest lake in the area, but the crystal-clear mountain lake is captivating with its beautiful turquoise color and gorgeous mountain backdrop.
The great thing about this lake is not only its romantic location, the beautiful circular hiking trail, but especially the picturesque boulders in the shore area. These boulders are not only located directly on the shore of Hintersee, but also extend into the nearby forest. At the edge of the lake is the magic forest.
This is not only called ike this, but is really very enchanting. It is abruptly cut through by the Ramsauer Ache, which later has to squeeze through the beautiful Preisenklamm gorge.
The Alpsee is doubly beautiful, because there is not only one, but two of them… the big and the small Alpsee. The large Alpsee, with its numerous sports and swimming opportunities, is located in the middle of meadows, forests and mountains in the beautiful Allgäu. With a water surface of 2.4 km² and a circumference of 8.1 km, it is the largest natural lake in the Allgäu.
The lake is suitable for families with children because of the shallow shore. But also sportsmen get their money’s worth. The lake offers perfect wind conditions for sailors, kiters and surfers. The small Alpsee, on the other hand, offers you an outdoor pool with a sunbathing lawn and sun chairs. For children there is an adventure playground that wants to be explored.
The Chiemsee is also called the Bavarian Sea and is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Germany. The area around Chiemsee offers a wide variety of recreational activities for the whole family. From water sports to hiking, boat tours to city and nature tours.
There are even sandy beaches on Lake Chiemsee, for example near the town of Chieming. And in the middle of the lake, Herrenchiemsee Castle, built at the end of the 10th century, is enthroned on Herreninsel. By Chiemsee boat you can get to the island and also to the smaller Fraueninsel on which there is an old Benedictine monastery.
TOP 5 of the most beautiful Nature Highlights in Bavaria
Whether in the Alps, Franconian Switzerland or the Bavarian Forest… the nature in Bavaria is simply made for hiking and offers fantastic natural scenery. The most beautiful hikes in Bavaria are not only really wonderful, but also varied. Whether you want to hike through a forest with many viewpoints, leisurely along the lake or through the narrow gorges. But even if you maybe don’t like hiking or maybe you are physically limited you can enjoy the nature of Bavaria.
With the Jennerbahn, which is located right next to the Königssee, you can ride up to the 1874 meter high Jenner within a few minutes. Tickets for the Jennerbahn are expensive, but the view from the top is worth every penny. A few years ago, a completely new cable car was also built, which is now much more comfortable and takes you up the mountain in glass cabins within 20 minutes.
From the top of the mountain you have the opportunity to see the Königssee and the surrounding area from a completely different perspective. The view is definitely worth it and you can hike a few hundred meters higher to the summit cross.
The Malerwinkel circular trail at Königssee is the most famous, but also the most beautiful hike at Königssee in Berchtesgadener Land! It leads to the Malerwinkel viewpoint on the north shore of Königssee. The view from the Malerwinkel over the Königssee, which is otherwise difficult to access, extends Pilgrimage church St. Bartholomä almost to the Obersee, which is located at the southern tip of the Königssee. Definitely do it when you’re in the area!
Facts about the Malerwinkel hiking trail:
- Circular route: Yes
- Length / duration: 3,8km / approx. 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: Very easy to walk
- Ascent/descent: 128 meters in altitude ↓↑
- Parking: Sufficient parking facilities in Schönau
#3 Schellenberg Ice Cave
The Schellenberg Ice Cave in the Berchtesgaden region is Germany’s largest and the only developed ice cave. The developed part of the ice cave amounts to about 3.5 km, 500 m of which can be visited during a guided tour of about 40 minutes. The ice cave is located inside the lower mountain and there you can find ice halls and crazy ice formations As a visitor to the cave, you will illuminate the cave yourself with carbide lamps carried by you, but you will reach it only after a walk of several hours.
Every day between Pentecost and the end of October, guided tours take place between 10 am and 4 pm, lasting just under 45 minutes. The path is over 500 meters long and takes you through the cave on boards and wooden stairs over ice fields. Only about 7000 visitors per year walk through the cave, which is why it can rightly be called an insider tip. More information can be found on the website of the Ice Cave.
#4 Zauberwald (Magic Forest)
Already in 1896 the footpath through the magic forest was created, but at that time it did not have this mystical name. Hundreds of years ago, widely scattered landslide debris created the wild romantic atmosphere of the Enchanted Forest and gave it this very name.
In the meantime, bizarre trees have grown on and between the rocks, giving the forest a very special flair that is unique to the Berchtesgaden National Park. Also, a small river flows along the magic forest, which still underlines the enchanting scenery with the appropriate river noise.
#5 Devil’s Cave Pottenstein
The Devil’s Cave Pottenstein is not only the most famous stalactite cave in Bavaria, but with a length of 3 kilometers also the longest. Besides the impressive stalactites and stalagmites, there are also bone remains and the reconstruction of a bear to see. About 800 meters, of the otherwise 3000 meters long cave, you can visit on a guided tour and more than 140,000 people come here every year in the winter months.
Opening hours & entrance fees:
- currently closed due to the Corona pandemic. Otherwise between December and March between 10 am and 3 pm
- Adults 5 Euro
- Children 3 Euro
TOP 5 Cities and Cultural Attractions in Bavaria
There are an incredible number of impressive cities and cultural highlights in Bavaria. On a road trip through Bavaria you don’t know where to stop everywhere. We have tried to make a great selection here with our highlights.
#1 Neuschwanstein Castle
In Schwangau is the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle. Probably every foreigner knows besides the FC Bayern and the German Autobahn also this famous castle, which is even supposed to have been the model for the Disney castle. With the foothills of the Alps in the background, the fairy-tale castle is enthroned on the hill at the foot of the Alpsee, which makes Neuschwanstein Castle almost seem like the backdrop of a fairy-tale movie.
In addition to a visit to the castle itself, the surrounding area in particular is also ideal for hiking and walking. The 9 km Alpsee and Neuschwanstein circuit is particularly recommended. This leads around the Alpsee with a view of the castle, through the Pöllatschlucht and to the Marienbrücke. You can find more information at Wanderwege Allgäu.
Opening hours & entrance fee:
- April to October 15: 9 am to 6 pm
- 16. October to March: 10 am to 4 pm
- Admission: 13 Euro
If you travel to Bavaria, you can’t miss Munich. The Bavarian capital is bursting with opulent and imposing buildings. Especially in the city center there is a lot to discover with the Marienplatz, the Viktualienmarkt and the Hofbräuhaus.
The Frauenkirche, the Residenz, Nymphenburg Palace, the Olympic Park and the English Garden are also not to be missed. Also on the must-do program is a visit to the more than 1000 beer gardens in the Munich city area. The 20 most beautiful sights in Munich can be found at muenchen.de.
#3 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The small, romantic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a complete contrast to Munich. Here, you’ll feel transported back to the Middle Ages as you stroll through the small, cobblestone streets. Christmas lovers in particular will get their money’s worth here, because Käthe Wohlfahrt is a store where Christmas reigns all year round.
If you like it a little creepier, the Prison and Crime Museum is the place to be. Here you can see old prison rooms and torture instruments.
#4 Valhalla Memorial
The Walhalla Memorial in the district of Regensburg may not be on most lists of TOP sights in Bavaria, but we think the place is absolutely worth a visit. When you see the monumental building you wouldn’t expect it to be in Germany… and that’s what makes it so special in our eyes. Before our visit, we would not have thought that in the middle of Bavaria is such an imposing hall of fame, which one would otherwise have suspected in Rome or Paris.
And so the building is also based on the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. Inside the hall, which was completed in 1842 and which you can reach with difficulty via many stairs or comfortably by car, you will find many marble busts of famous personalities such as Heinrich Heine and Sophie Scholl. From up there, you also have a great view of the Danube meandering in front of Valhalla’s feet.
A visit to Valhalla can also be wonderfully combined with a boat trip on the nearby Danube. You could, for example, take the bus from Regensburg to Valhalla and return by boat. Detailed information about the boat trip can be found here.
#5 Residence in Würzburg
The Residenz in Würzburg is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bavaria. The baroque palace is an architectural masterpiece and offers magnificent rooms to marvel at, especially in its interior. The Residence is the main work of the South German Baroque and also one of the most important castles in Europe.
The palace has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. After the war, in which large parts of the palace were destroyed, it took almost 40 years to rebuild everything. Today, 42 of the more than 300 rooms are so-called show rooms and can be visited. A guided tour through the castle is also really informative and you can easily put yourself into the time. Unfortunately, photography and filming inside the residence is prohibited.
Unbelievable to me, but unfortunately you have to abide by the rules. Where photography is not prohibited is in the beautifully landscaped courtyard garden. Admission is free here, and you can take a wonderful walk. Hundreds of rose species bloom here, fountains splash away and accurately trimmed trees and hedges vie for attention here.
TOP 5 of the most beautiful Hotels in Bavaria
Are you looking for special places to stay in Bavaria? Then we have a selection of exquisite and special hotels in the southernmost state.
#1 4-Star Luxury at Haubers Naturreservat Gutshof
Haubers Naturreservat Gutshof* is a 4-star resort near the Austrian border and offers its guests a unique panoramic view of the Alps in addition to the wellness area, its own hiking trails, access to 5 golf courses.
Haubers Naturreservat Gutshof on Booking*
#2 Romantik Hotel Markusturm in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
If you visit the small town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber during your trip to Bavaria, it is also worth staying directly in the beautiful Romantik Hotel Markusturm*. The historic hotel from 1264 combines the medieval atmosphere with modern design. In addition, there are restaurant traditional dishes to wine from the region and home-brewed beer.
Romantik Hotel Markusturm on Booking*
#3 Pure nature in the alpine residence Buchenhöhe
Nestled in lush green alpine meadows, the Alpenresidenz Buchenhöhe* overlooks the village and the surrounding mountains. The hotel is the perfect retreat in the Berchtesgaden mountains and an ideal starting point for hikes. Those looking for peace and quiet in nature are in the right place.
Alpenresidenz Buchenhöhe on Booking*
#4 Haus Jägerfleck – Holiday Apartment at the Bavarian Forest National Park
The vacation apartments in Haus Jägerfleck* are perfectly situated for a nature vacation due to their location at the Bavarian Forest National Park. In the cozy apartments you can be perfectly self-sufficient. Especially in summer there is also the possibility outside to barbecue.
#5 Pure Relaxation in the Elements Hotel Christlessee in the Trettach Valley
The location of Elements Hotel Christlessee* in the Trettach Valley is truly unique. The fairytale location on a small lake enchants you immediately when you visit the hotel. From the accommodation you can go hiking in all directions to enjoy the nature of Bavaria. For relaxation after the hikes, the beautiful wellness area with original Finnish sauna.
Elements Hotel Christlessee on Booking*
What are the most beautiful Bavarian sights and highlights for you? Feel free to leave us a comment and we’ll add to our list.